An imperfect storm

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, August 22, 2018

With apologies to the producers of the movie some years back with the name “A Perfect Storm” that was based on acts of nature putting a boat in a life threating situation. We have a similar situation with murders in America. Nothing is perfect in murder, therefore “imperfect.” Just as in the movie, things have come together to create horrible statistics, often involving innocent children and law enforcement officers.

One recent weekend in Chicago, over 70 individuals were shot and a dozen killed. Closer to home, one city and one town in the area have the highest murder rates relative to population in Virginia.


Here are several factors that are driving the numbers higher.

Illegal aliens often slip through our borders with the express intent of dealing drugs. Coming from South and Central America with a culture of murder in major cities. They bring to America their mentality that you control the drug traffic only by eliminating the competition. To protect their drug territories, they discourage competition by killing other dealers. To survive, most dealers operate in gangs. To gain gang membership, potential members must commit crimes to prove their loyalty. Sometimes that includes murdering competing dealers. In the case of the MS-13 gangs, the murders are particularly gruesome activities such as disembowelment.

We must not overlook the responsibility of Hollywood in this. You cannot watch a night of television without seeing people being shot. Usually the dead simply drop to the ground, rarely are victims shown wreathing in agony. Good guys are only nicked and back to work the next week. Few understand the suffering that victims face as they die. Too often, the viewer knows who is really bad and the good guys are cheered for taking illegal steps that real law enforcement would never take. This, and the fact that some officers are portrayed as “bad” cops, leads some to believe that officers are not good guys and are deemed to be the enemy in some communities.

Suicide is another issue. Suicide statistics are not considered in the murder rates unless someone is unwilling to take their own life but chooses to go out in flames. Examples are school massacres in which they know they will be killed to stop them from killing children, teachers and staff.

A divided nation has led some to believe that if you do not agree on issues then you must be the enemy. Over and over, we have had law enforcement attacked while acting to protect individuals or businesses. Events like the incident in Ferguson, Missouri in which a young man stole from a store then fought to avoid arrest, led to burnt and pillaged businesses led by paid protestors financed by one billionaire. This has been repeated around the nation. Creating an atmosphere in which some believe that law enforcement is the enemy. Officers have been murdered for no reason. In response, officers are edgy when responding to calls, fearing they may be being lured into a trap. This is not safe for citizens in need nor law enforcement.

Finally, many families today have walked away from religion. This has left young people adrift without the needed reinforcement of the values that religions teach.

The tough question now is this: How do we restore confidence in all communities of the need for the rule of law? Creating good jobs is important to accomplish this.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.